High School Wrestling

Cougars, Vikings to square off again today at Northgate Duals


Newnan’s Tre’ Goggins (left) battles Northgate wrestler Blake Lamb in the 195-pound division during Wednesday’s Coweta County Championships. Lamb pulled out a second-round pin to give the Vikings a 29-27 lead, but the Cougars rallied back twice to win the match 36-35.

Cougars, Vikings to square off again today at Northgate Duals after close match at county

It would be hard to a find a more exciting wrestling match than what took place at Wednesday’s Coweta County Wrestling Championships between Newnan and Northgate.

The two teams swapped leads six times over the final eight weight-classes before Cougar lightweight Trevor Roberts held off Viking sophomore Frankie Ariello in a 14-9 decision to decide a 36-35 victory.

Ariello took a slim 9-7 lead into the third period before Roberts rallied with a takedown and nearfall to go ahead for good.

Both wrestlers were exhausted at the conclusion, having given it everything they had.

“He’s got as much heart as anyone on the team,” said Northgate assistant coach Justin Turner of Ariello afterwards.

But the two teams won’t have to wait long for a rematch.

Newnan travels to Northgate today to a six-team dual meet.

A round-robin format starts at 9 a.m. and the match between Newnan and Northgate will among the last three matches of the day.

In Wednesday’s first meeting, both teams managed to pull out seven victories, but pins from Newnan wrestlers Zachary Stephenson (126), Christopher Grier (132), Ladonte Godfrey (145), Nicholas Robinson (170) and Christian Shellabarger (220) were enough to keep the Cougars on top.

Having started the match at 113 pounds, the two teams traded pins leading up to the 106-pound division as Shellabarger closed out a win over Michael Martin at 220 pounds in the second round for a 33-29 Newnan lead only to see Northgate heavyweight Reginald Ellis respond with one of his own to gain back six points and a 35-33 advantage for the Vikings.

Northgate was able to stay in the match with four pins. They included efforts from Michael Geres (120), Brady McCloud (152) and Blake Lamb.

The Vikings’ trailed by as many as seven points, down 27-20 before freshman 182-pounder Kyle Cater earned an 8-5 decision over Newnan’s Nicholas Schlottman. It was one of four matches that went the distance between teams.

As a first-year junior-varsity football player, Cater impressed Northgate coaches to be elevated to the varsity by midseason.

“Teams couldn’t stop him,” said Turner of Cater. “He’d run a dive for 15 yards. He’s only starting to scratch the surface in wrestling.”

Newnan’s Grier, Robinson, and Shellabarger and all earned crowned Individual Champions.

Geres, McCloud, Alex DiTiranto (160) and Lamb each earned honors from the Vikings.

DESPITE COUNTY TITLE, INDIANS NOT SATISFIED YET: Just because East Coweta’s wrestling team captured the its second straight Coweta County Championship title on Wednesday, don’t expect head coach Josh Herring to be satisfied.

The Indians’ head coach said his lineup has bigger mountains to climb in the coming weeks and months as it prepares for a possible bid to the state duals and then the traditional state meet.

“I am really happy with the way we wrestled ,” he said. We took care of business, but we still have work to do. “There is always need for improvement. There are still holes we need to fix, but over all the effort was really good.”

East Coweta got helped from the top of the top of its weight classes to the bottom en route to capturing this year’s title.

East Coweta wrestlers Dusty Nelson (106), Zach Gabriel (120), Matthew Durham (126), Blake Green (138), Garrett Klinger (145), Kevin Lashley (182), and Dawson Ellis (285) each finished with two wins at the tournament and earned the Individual County Champion designation.

WATERS TRYING TO PUT STAMP ON VIKING PROGRAM: New Northgate wrestling coach John Waters knows what Anderson meant to wrestling in Coweta County. Waters served one year as Anderson’s assisted and has now hit the ground running as the man in charge of his own program.

Waters’ first goal is to maintain a level of winning at Northgate, through hard work and tough competition.

“We want to get better each time,” he said. “ I am proud of the way we competed, but I am disappointed with the results. We just need to keep working.”

COACHING ROOTS ALL IN THE FAMILY. Most sons want to be like their fathers. In Coweta County, two head coaches, East Coweta’s Herring, and Newnan first-year head coach Sean Hage, each followed in their father’s footsteps and are now running their own high school programs

Josh competed for his dad, Jimmy, at Oconee County, while Sean wrestled for his father, Brian, at Harrison High School.

Herring will be back at his high school alma mater today when East Coweta competes in the Tommy Warren Duals at Oconee County.

The Indians also have a father-son coaching tandem on the bench with assistants Jeff and Christian Flavin, the latter a former state champion at ECHS.

Hage, meanwhile, is putting down roots at Newnan after coaching at North Cobb.

And while the coaching torch may have been passed at the head level at Northgate, there’s still an Anderson on the bench.

Former Viking standout Aric Anderson, Adrian’s son, was on the bench Wednesday while working with the program this season.

RIGHT AT HOME: Hage is happy to be in control of the Cougars wrestling program and the former four time state high wrestling champion and college all-american didn’t hesitate to apply for the job when former Newnan coach Tom Everett stepped aside and retired.

“We are excited,” Hage said. “Coach Everett did a great job with the program, and we want to continue that.

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